''The wind was so cold and dry it gave you goose-pimples' ....Vincent Van Gogh, 1888.
Today was one of those days.....windy, cold....bit at me; it did. But I persevered and completed my 5 mile walk. As I walked, yes....my head might have been more to the ground than normal but I did break my eye's from the earth, well...every once in a while.
At one time I came upon a mockingbird. Now usually this mockingbird likes to hang out a few roofs down but today I noticed it bunched in a tree. As I approached I must have startled the bird for 'off it went'. Not to my surprise though.
As it 'went'.....I took note that it flew off 'down that way', and then edged in a bit, then edged in to the left a bit more and finally made flight for a bush where it lost itself from my eyes. But this startling, which caused flight, made me ponder some as I recalled at a later hour the reason for it's flight 'path'.
Now I have discussed this before in a prior blog as I sat in a car at Shop-rite and sketched out the flight patterns of several birds. Yet here I am once more pondering the same reasoning behind a somewhat incoherent flight pattern only at this time I believe I have at last; 'figured it out'.....
Birds in flight, that is. I looked this up and found some Scientific Analysis which included the calculations of Salt and Zeuthen (1960) and equations such as this:
D = Cd * S * 0.5 * ρ * V2 (Go ahead, figure it out math brains).....But vocabulary such as aerodynamic drag, newton-meters, chemical energy, air density, co-efficient of drag, and on and on. Frankly, I couldn't figure it out written out in some scientific terms. Okay, I give you some proof. Observe the following chart:
So let's skip the intensity of science here for a minute and see my grasp of the situation. You see... it all has to do with energy. The more a bird flies, the more energy and calories it consumes. Pretty simple.
Given that, and given the windy day.....the mockingbird unknowingly performed all of that science in their bird brain. No calculator needed, not tech...no computers and not even a pencil and paper. Just good old fashioned bird-sense.
And what might this look like from a human's perspective. Well, check it out below as I mapped out the issue.
It is all about ENERGY and conserving energy. A bird knows naturally how to conserve energy and I think this drawing above shows exactly this. The Mockingbird had it's initial contact with me at the * in the above map. From that point, follow the #1 flight pattern. The ending area was the bush on the left. Notice the way the prevailing wind was coming. If the mockingbird would have taken flight pattern #2 which is the shortest route from * to Bush, it would have flown directly against the wind, thus using a ton of energy.
But the bird instead took flight pattern #1 which at first looked to me to be haphazard but in reality it was very well 'thought out'.... Perhaps not 'thought out' but just instinct. The Mockingbird, by instinct knew to fly 'cross-wind' as if surfing the wind and taking a ride over much of the real-estate. No or little calories used in the first leg as it flew cross wind. Then it edged to the left a bit to the bush, but not much. The mockingbird actually flew beyond the bush, and then....turned to intersect the movement of the wind. Again, an easy surf.
Think of swimming against the tide in the ocean. By swimming into the current you will simply use energy and get little results. But if you swim cross current, you will eventually make it to the shore. Much like swimming the mockingbird did much the same. Cross wind....cross wind....cross wind..... and finally the bush. The energy expelled to move from * to Bush was little compared to flight pattern #2. The bird knew. The bird saved calories. The bird took all of that 'math' and figured it out way prior to any of us who did that complicated equation. It is all about Energy usage.
What do you think....did I figure it out?
Do this....... Every time you go outside, observe a bit of nature. Whether it is a blade of grass blowing in the wind or a butterfly or ant or a tree. The point is, look at it and ponder it. Why do the clouds move the way they do? Why is it that the weed grows here? Why is it that the rain falls in a particular pattern when first raining ...etc etc. Challenge yourself and pull your head out of computers or the phone. Let your brain wander to that which is natural.